Michigan Basketball: Indiana at Michigan — Wrap-Up
A wild start in Crisler Arena ensued for the start of the Big Ten finale for Michigan. This game was also highlighted by the final appearance for senior Jordan Morgan. In the preview, it was mentioned that Nebraska and others had success by forcing the perimeter game of Indiana out by applying tough pressure. So, right off the bat Robinson III invites Sheehey to shoot from the arc. Give a guy like that a horse shot and you pay. Michigan worked the ball inside to Morgan, taking advantage of a rare size advantage.Indiana predictably went straight to the middle with Ferrell, and others, with success. Again, it is important to mention that Indiana is not a good match-up for Michigan. The difference is the level of softer defense the Wolverines exhibit allowing Indiana better shots than normally encountered. Indiana has not been a rebounding giant, but Michigan may change that conclusion.
Michigan goes to the hoop, gets hit two or three times, turns lazy, and Indiana beats Michigan down the court. Indiana starts off looking like the better team. Indiana is playing for a slim NCAA chance. Will the intensity and good play continue for the Hoosiers?
Michigan starts to hit a few shots and closes the gap. If the defense tightens up, things may change. Even a team with some shooting woes does very good from five feet and in. Indiana has been troubled by moving the ball, as Dakich says- pass the ball.
After working the offense, Michigan takes some bad shots and kills the momentum. Indiana throws up a couple of question marks as well. Caris is touched, but the play occurs under the 8:00 television timeout mark, so the foul is called and messages from the sponsors go on without a hitch.Indiana continues to lead and Michigan gets beat down the floor again. Indiana helps with a couple more turnovers, their heal of weakness. Indiana goes over the back just under the 4:00 minute mark and again important messages from the sponsors proceeded without a hitch. So, four minutes to play, Michigan is a little down, but not out. The cure is to work the ball and hit the open shots. Morgan plays on, and on, he is not giving in to Indiana. Will the team follow his lead?
The game is now tweaked by the officials, and TV Teddy is not even present. An impossible possession call, a charge, at least one shuffle travel occurs and Beilein had enough. Even the mild mannered guys have a line and will explode when the zebras put a fork in them.Indiana is helping itself and getting help. The offensive rebounding situation is putting a severe hurt on the Wolverines. Michigan is getting killed on the baseline cuts and screens. The easy points continue, just what Indiana prepared for and Will Sheehey ends up with 13 points, he who has struggled some lately.
So, with all the drama, conspiracy, mess-ups and other woes, Michigan is down six points at halftime. This is familiar territory. A little case of righteous indignation and some toughness may get the guys going into the plus column.
Dakich has again rejected sweetness and wimpy correctness and is giving brutal and honest analysis. His insights are the result of being around people of the same ilk. Yes, he could coach and win again at the college level, but his gig is growing stronger and must be enjoyable for him, compared to the grief absorbed from coaching. Dakich could give a rat’s behind if people get upset with his comments. I wonder where he gained that trait?The second half starts with two nice Stauskas plays countered by three inside baskets by Indiana. Stauskas again makes a killer move and, halleluiah; two traveling calls are made against Indiana. The place is rocking and the magma chamber is warming up, Indiana then calls a time-out. As predicted, this game is intense.
The ball goes to the high post and Robinson III is open for an easy shot. This is followed up by Michigan giving up another lay-up. Will Michigan start to put the lay-ups at the foul line in the last ten minutes of the game?
Michigan is playing harder and better, especially on offense. Stauskas gets a nick that turns into three points from the foul line. Indiana is starting to miss some easy shots, but Robinson III has a running bank fall out. Never mind, just keep playing hard and go for the rim.
Irvin again fires up a quick, and probably ill-advised shot. He may be better served to just let nature flow and be a bit more selective. Right now Michigan needs the best option, not an option. This has been a pattern, the results have been varied. Clearly, Zak can be a guy like Burke and Stauskas that can get better in the summer. It is important that he better understands the nature of what is being attempted within the offensive framework.Horford works hard and hits two big foul shots for the Wolverines. Michigan hits a split in the Hoosier defense and gets a dunk. Indiana is now turning the ball over with deadly consequences, could the Hoosiers be wilting a little? Probably not, the cause is likely sloppy play.
Michigan then invites Indiana back into the game with a couple of turnovers and getting lazy on Yogi Ferrell. The result is a drained three pointer for the Yogi. Morgan answers on a nice no-look pass from Walton for a “traditional” three-point play when Morgan split two guys not looking at the end line. Indiana again turns the ball over and Caris is off to the races.
The intensity may seem to be waning, but this is deceptive. The guys are simply getting tired on both sides. The contact continues and Morgan seems to be right in the middle, again, I say, he is not backing off one inch.
Vonleh gets the ball deep in the post and Horford hacks him. Is Michigan now ready to force some fouls over lay-ups? Both teams are going to the hoop and getting fouled as a result.
Again, Michigan has a chance to take control and Indiana gets another open three from a hands-down perimeter defense. This game may just come down to will power and mental toughness. Michigan needs to identify and execute the best offensive options the rest of the way. This is another great test for Michigan in the making.
Michigan fouls and a 55% shooter hits another two to go 7 for 7. Michigan’s Robinson misses a lob layup and Indiana runs to tie the game after a Stauskas turnover. Robinson III is dead open in the corner and nails it, his fifth straight point.
Somehow, Caris finds a way to foul with a lead far from the basket and Indiana hits two more. Spike continues the great Wolverine foul shooting in the second half hitting two to provide some relief. Vonleh hits a three-pointer that has not been uncommon as the talented freshman has hit plenty during the year. So the stage is set, 4.2 seconds left, Michigan inbounded to Stauskas and he is fouled.Stauskas steps to the foul line and hits the first shot. Michigan now has a three-point lead. Spike steps up to Stauskas and gives a little advice. My guess is he simply said just make it. Walton is seen in the background laughing, he senses the spheroid will find the middle of the net; it did. Yogi misses a tough twister that meant nothing and the game is over. Michigan wins 84-80 and goes 15-3 in the Big Ten, four games better than my 11-7, and fourth/fifth place prediction. Beilein’s offense does not cure rebounding or defensive warts, but it puts on a pretty offensive face. Well now, back to the old expression free throws are like bunts, you must have them. The foul shooting in the second half, combined with Indiana’s turnover machine created the final margin of Wolverine victory.
Morgan gets a parting gift he will remember forever. Whatever he says, the likelihood was not for him to play in an NCAA Championship game or win two league titles. When he arrived, Michigan was hoping to hit the first division.
Stauskas continues his ascension, albeit the car is headed for the garage.There are many outstanding coaches in the Big Ten, but mark John Beilein down as the coach of the year (caps are optional).
Now as for Indiana, there is a ton of young talent on the team, but Morgan showed that leadership over a season of ups and downs does make a difference. Indiana must run the table and win the league tourney. This will be tough, but the Hoosiers are playing In Indianapolis.
The Wolverines showed the grit and confidence of a championship team. Hopefully this continues.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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